When asked about the first time she ever went on a diet, Genie Francis has to think back-all the way back, to a grade school picture of herself in her Brownie uniform that she felt made her look “like a sausage,” she recalls.
“So I starved myself in the sixth grade – I’d eat two bites of whatever my mother put on my plate. It was one of the crazy dieting things that kids do. “That was when,” she says, “I was just starting to be aware of looking good.”
It is an awareness she have never lost; in fact, now Francis admits that her physical appearance “has been a lifelong obsession and battle” – one fueled by the pressure to be thin when she began starring in the daytime soap General Hospital in 1976.
She tried a liquid diet on her own. “Already I was engaging in dangerous, reckless dieting behavior,” says Francis, adding that she later “made myself ill” at the thought of having to wear a leotard in a scene with exercise guru Richard Simmons.
“It was just an ongoing thing that I did not look good enough,” says Francis. “I have that in my heart today. It hurts.” Which is why she decided – very publicly – to make what may be her final attempt at losing weight. The 5’4″ Francis became a spokeswoman for the Medifast weight-loss program, hoping to lose 30 lbs. within a year and slim down enough to “feel pretty.”
Genie Francis’ Medifast Diet Plan On Medifast, which is billed as a portion-controlled, low-calorie meal-replacement program, Francis takes in only about 1,000 calories a day – about 20 percent fewer than many other diet plans, but not so few that she would need medical supervision (generally recommended for diets of 800 calories or less).
And while many experts worry that such severe calorie restriction may make it difficult to “sustain substantial weight loss,” says nutritionist Joan Salge Blake, a clinical assistant professor at Boston University, Francis insists, “I’ll never be starving.”
The plan has her eating every two to three hours, choosing among Medifast products (like packaged chicken soup) that are sent to her and one “real” meal, such as 6 oz. of tuna on top of lettuce and 1 cup of steamed broccoli. [via]